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Bethesda Parent Company Purchases id Software

Or: id Software takes it to the ZeniMax.

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda Softworks, has acquired id Software, according to a press release issued this morning. Said release states that no changes will be made to the way id operates, and that John Carmack will continue to serve as the company's technical director.

I would classify my reaction to this as "surprise" or perhaps "shock." Here's the full press release, in case you want the quotes from the principals.

June 24, 2009  (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of noted game publisher Bethesda Softworks, today announced it has completed the acquisition of legendary game studio, id Software, creators of world-renowned games such as DOOM, QUAKE, Wolfenstein, and its upcoming title, RAGE. The acquisition by ZeniMax Media joins together two of the finest, most respected videogame developers in the world, combining the first person shooter (FPS) expertise of id Software with acclaimed role playing game (RPG) developer Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2008 Game of the Year, Fallout 3, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks will publish the titles of id Software other than upcoming releases previously committed to other publishers.

Founded in 1991, id Software established itself as an industry leader with some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed video games of all time. id Software created the original first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, and subsequently set new standards in the genre with the blockbuster releases of its DOOM and QUAKE titles. In addition, id Software developed cutting edge, proprietary technology with the id Tech engine which powers many notable FPS titles, and continues to make great advances in game technology under the direction of John Carmack, one of the country’s technology leaders and a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame.

Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, commented on the transaction: “This was a unique opportunity to team with a smart, sophisticated publisher like Bethesda Softworks where the interests of the studio and the publisher will be fully aligned in the development and marketing of our titles.  In addition, we will now have financial and business resources to support the future growth of id Software, a huge advantage which will result in more and even better games for our fans.”

id Software will continue to operate as a studio under the direction of its founder, John Carmack.  No changes will be made in the operations of id Software in the development of its games. All the principals at id Software have signed long-term employment contracts, assuring they will continue in their roles developing games at the studio.

“This puts id Software in a wonderful position going forward,” said John Carmack, who will continue to serve in his current role as Technical Director.  “We will now be able to grow and extend all of our franchises under one roof, leveraging our capabilities across multiple teams while enabling forward looking research to be done in the service of all of them.  We will be bigger and stronger, as we recruit the best talent to help us build the landmark games of the future.  As trite as it may be for me to say that I am extremely pleased and excited about this deal, I am."

Robert Altman, the founder, Chairman & CEO of ZeniMax Media stated, “We, along with many others, consider id Software to be among the finest game studios in the world, with extraordinary design, artistic and technical capabilities. They have demonstrated, repeatedly, that rare ability to create franchise properties that are critical and commercial successes. Our intention is to make sure id Software will continue to do what they do best – make AAA games. Our role will be to provide publisher support through Bethesda Softworks and give id Software the resources it needs to grow and expand.”

ZeniMax Media Inc, which is privately held, was founded in 1999 to create quality interactive entertainment products to meet the growing worldwide demand. The Company is headquartered in Rockville, MD and maintains offices in Hunt Valley, MD, London and Tokyo. Among its wholly owned subsidiaries are Bethesda Softworks, a premier publisher of video games, Vir2L Studios which develops games for the casual market, and ZeniMax Online Studios, a studio dedicated to massively multi-player online games (MMOG).

Bethesda Game Studios, the development group at ZeniMax Media, is one of the top video game studios in the world. Its most recent release, Fallout 3, was the 2008 winner of more than 60 Game of the Year awards, including The Associated Press, Official Xbox Magazine, Yahoo, PC Gamer, IGN, Game Critics Awards, Game Developer Choice Awards, and Gamespy. Bethesda also created the 2006 PC and Xbox 360® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.  Bethesda Game Studios has created 2 of the 10 best games of all time, Fallout 3 and Oblivion, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3 platforms, as reported by the industry scoring system found at www.metacritic.com and www.gamerankings.com. 

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda Softworks, has acquired id Software, according to a press release issued this morning. Said release states that no changes will be made to the way id operates, and that John Carmack will continue to serve as the company's technical director.

I would classify my reaction to this as "surprise" or perhaps "shock." Here's the full press release, in case you want the quotes from the principals.

June 24, 2009  (Rockville, MD) – ZeniMax Media Inc., parent company of noted game publisher Bethesda Softworks, today announced it has completed the acquisition of legendary game studio, id Software, creators of world-renowned games such as DOOM, QUAKE, Wolfenstein, and its upcoming title, RAGE. The acquisition by ZeniMax Media joins together two of the finest, most respected videogame developers in the world, combining the first person shooter (FPS) expertise of id Software with acclaimed role playing game (RPG) developer Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2008 Game of the Year, Fallout 3, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks will publish the titles of id Software other than upcoming releases previously committed to other publishers.

Founded in 1991, id Software established itself as an industry leader with some of the best-selling and most critically acclaimed video games of all time. id Software created the original first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, and subsequently set new standards in the genre with the blockbuster releases of its DOOM and QUAKE titles. In addition, id Software developed cutting edge, proprietary technology with the id Tech engine which powers many notable FPS titles, and continues to make great advances in game technology under the direction of John Carmack, one of the country’s technology leaders and a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame.

Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software, commented on the transaction: “This was a unique opportunity to team with a smart, sophisticated publisher like Bethesda Softworks where the interests of the studio and the publisher will be fully aligned in the development and marketing of our titles.  In addition, we will now have financial and business resources to support the future growth of id Software, a huge advantage which will result in more and even better games for our fans.”

id Software will continue to operate as a studio under the direction of its founder, John Carmack.  No changes will be made in the operations of id Software in the development of its games. All the principals at id Software have signed long-term employment contracts, assuring they will continue in their roles developing games at the studio.

“This puts id Software in a wonderful position going forward,” said John Carmack, who will continue to serve in his current role as Technical Director.  “We will now be able to grow and extend all of our franchises under one roof, leveraging our capabilities across multiple teams while enabling forward looking research to be done in the service of all of them.  We will be bigger and stronger, as we recruit the best talent to help us build the landmark games of the future.  As trite as it may be for me to say that I am extremely pleased and excited about this deal, I am."

Robert Altman, the founder, Chairman & CEO of ZeniMax Media stated, “We, along with many others, consider id Software to be among the finest game studios in the world, with extraordinary design, artistic and technical capabilities. They have demonstrated, repeatedly, that rare ability to create franchise properties that are critical and commercial successes. Our intention is to make sure id Software will continue to do what they do best – make AAA games. Our role will be to provide publisher support through Bethesda Softworks and give id Software the resources it needs to grow and expand.”

ZeniMax Media Inc, which is privately held, was founded in 1999 to create quality interactive entertainment products to meet the growing worldwide demand. The Company is headquartered in Rockville, MD and maintains offices in Hunt Valley, MD, London and Tokyo. Among its wholly owned subsidiaries are Bethesda Softworks, a premier publisher of video games, Vir2L Studios which develops games for the casual market, and ZeniMax Online Studios, a studio dedicated to massively multi-player online games (MMOG).

Bethesda Game Studios, the development group at ZeniMax Media, is one of the top video game studios in the world. Its most recent release, Fallout 3, was the 2008 winner of more than 60 Game of the Year awards, including The Associated Press, Official Xbox Magazine, Yahoo, PC Gamer, IGN, Game Critics Awards, Game Developer Choice Awards, and Gamespy. Bethesda also created the 2006 PC and Xbox 360® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.  Bethesda Game Studios has created 2 of the 10 best games of all time, Fallout 3 and Oblivion, on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3 platforms, as reported by the industry scoring system found at www.metacritic.com and www.gamerankings.com. 

Posted by Mjolnir

Definitely didn't see that one coming.

Edited by Chris2KLee

Shoot, that is pretty big news and out of nowhere. Looks like ZeniMax is making some moves, but seeing as Rage is set to be some sort of big open world shooter, it does kinda fit their portfolio.

Posted by megaplushie

I didn't see it coming either. Madness.

Posted by rateoforange

Holy crap!

Posted by Wesker

Wow. That's crazy.

Posted by Nerubi

*Jaw drops* 2 big news in 1 day

Posted by Ariase

Left field is up thataway...

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Yeah, really.  Carmack's still in charge, but now can be fired at any time...

Posted by rateoforange

Fallout 4 on ID Tech 5. You heard it here first!

Posted by dusanvf

Whoa, BIG news! hoping to see some amazing games in the future, perhaps a Doom-Fallout mashup, in Mars! that'll be awesome.

Posted by EnchantedEcho

Maybe they can make the shooting in Fallout 3 better now.
Jokes Fallout 3 was great regardless.

Posted by MadExponent

Interesting

Posted by MadExponent
@ahoodedfigure said:
" Yeah, really.  Carmack's still in charge, but now can be fired at any time... "
I'm sure he has a cushy contract.  Unless Zenimax wants to break it and get sued...Mr. Carmack will be just fine.
Edited by MattBodega

That's absolutely crazy. I'm sure, like the Press Release says, this will have absolutely no impact on the day to day operations at id, or the company's famous "When it's done" mentality, but I always assumed(as most people did) that id was the very definition of an Independent company, not interested in dealing with the bothersome rigmarole of corporate ownership. Totally crazy.

Between this announcement and the PR event Zenimax held in London, is the Bethesda Studios owner preparing to step into the bigs as a serious game publisher? Between Brink, Rogue Warrior,  Wet, the inevitable Elder Scrolls 5, Fallout:New Vegas, and now id's next project(since they're publishing Rage through EA, I have to assume that Doom 4 will be a Zenimax game), it looks like Zenimax has enough confidence in this miserable economy to try and become a real industry player. I'll be super interested to see how this pans out.

Posted by Triphos

The fact that ID was the studio purchased is pretty shocking, but I don't think ZeniMax buying another studio is that out of left field. The recent Bethesda London event was pretty much about the fact that they're a game publisher as well as a development studio, and this just reinforces that. I mean, how big is RAGE published by Bethesda going to be?

Carmack loves him some mobile games too, so maybe this will enable ZeniMax/Bethesda to move into that space.

Posted by MeierTheRed
@Mjolnir:

Definitely didn't see that coming either

Posted by ultrapeanut

Um. WHAT?

Posted by Jeff
@MattBodega: You're absolutely right, this is part of a larger move by Bethesda/ZeniMax to become a bigger, more significant company and be thought of as more than just "those Fallout/Elder Scrolls guys."
Posted by astonish

Wow this is a surprise.  id has been branching out with more portable stuff lately and thats going well, I'm mildly skeptical about them being able to deliver a AAA game in the style of the current generation tho (story, production values, novel mechanics). Maybe we will see id tech 5 for the next bethesda game instead of the usual oblivion/fallout engine?

Posted by Scorched

IT'S CRAZY!!!

Posted by Alex_Murphy

Wow. How cool would a doom game in a huge sprawling oblivion/fallout3 universe be? As long as they don't make it too RPG heavy that could be pretty sweet.

Posted by Metal_Mills

Wow now that was a surprise.

Posted by AuthenticM

Wow. They managed to keep that one under the lid.

Posted by Hamz

Definately an 'out of the blue' move there and not something I expected. Like MattBodega said it would appear this is perhaps a sign that Bethesda / ZeniMax are looking to play in the big boys league now and rightly so. Can't imagine the day-to-day runnings on id Software will change at all by this does come as quite the shocker.

Posted by LordAndrew

Say what?

Posted by DavidSnakes

"Bethesda Game Studios has created 2 of the 10 best games of all time, Fallout 3 and Oblivion"

I'd have to completely disagree with that statement

Posted by RHCPfan24

Whoa! Didn't see that one coming! id doesn't seem like the company that would make this move, but I love Bethesda so them two together is a great match. Still, we better not see a "Elder Scrolls V with leftover Pinky models from Doom 3".

Posted by cyrax

Wha wha wha whaaaat?
I guess it makes sense quality wise?

Posted by ZombiePie

Sooo, what's going to happen to id's partnership with EA? I know that Rage is probably going to be published by EA but does id have any other obligations to EA?

Moderator
Posted by Maxszy

Insanity! I wonder what will come of this now?

Posted by Haethos

is id still relevant today? great history, but not so sure that they are still big players. show me something!

Posted by Tovan

I don't... holy crap. Good secret keeping skills.

Posted by MatthewMeadows

Okay so when it comes to industry takeovers like this I'm kinda clueless. What does this mean for me as a gamer? New physics engine for TES/Fallout games? If so then awesome.

Posted by Death_Burnout

im honestly not that shocked.

@Haethos
said:

" is id still relevant today? great history, but not so sure that they are still big players. show me something! "
I'm with you.
Posted by Snipzor

Did not expect this. But I do expect a jump in quality in Besthesda in all fields.


Rule of thumb, when you have John Carmack on your team, you know you cannot lose.
Posted by Nat3TheGreat13

Very unexpected but a very cool addition to an amazing company.

Edited by Tebbit

Does anyone know how many independent studios there are now? I'm willing to bet, not too many. At least none of the major ones, it feels like the only independent are indie developers.

"YA CAN'T SPELL INDEPENDENT WITHOUT I-N-D-I-E! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW"

Also
@AuthenticM said:
" Wow. They managed to keep that one under the lid. "
More like, under the "id"
Posted by SoFuLL

Cool, the next elder scrolls game will include a portal to hell!!!!!

Posted by Einherjan

This is good news. EA merging Mythic and Bioware is baaaaddd.

Posted by Scratch

How come we didn't even see a single rumour about this? Not even one. This truly comes as a shock. And it seems like the Bethesda name is being seen more often in press releases.

Posted by phlegms

Wait what?

Posted by graf1k
@ZombiePie said:
" Sooo, what's going to happen to id's partnership with EA? I know that Rage is probably going to be published by EA but does id have any other obligations to EA? "
As I recall id has always done single game contracts with publishers so I'd imagine they owe EA nothing past Rage.
Posted by Snipzor
@SoFuLL: Wasn't that actually Oblivion?
Posted by ArbitraryWater

This is...unexpected. I wonder what the eventual consequences of this purchase will be. Maybe the next Fallout game will have not clunky shooting.

Posted by Ninjaduck88

Why were there no rumors about this? How could no one have known?

Edited by atejas

Damn, I just made a thread about this. Sorry.


Anyway, like I said, Oblivion with CyberDemons.

@SoFuLL said:

" Cool, the next elder scrolls game will include a portal to hell!!!!! "
Erm....Oblivion Gates?
Posted by SithToast

Holy crap!

Posted by CL60

MADNESS!

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